Berklee's Helping Hands
by Marjorie O'Malley
|From the left: Al Natale, scholarship recipient Christopher Sears, and Brass Department Chair Tom Plsek.|
The W.L.S. Spencer Foundation of San Francisco, California, has made a generous first-time investment in Berklee's Teaching Music with Technology Initiative-a multi-year project that will dramatically restructure the way in which technology is used to train pre-K-12 classroom music teachers. Berklee's goal is to improve the training of music education teachers and, in turn, the education of young music students. The college is developing online course enhancement materials for six additional sites over the next three years. Upon completion, Berklee's entire music-education curriculum will be supported with media-rich online learning activities. These materials would then be available for other music teacher preparation programs, for students and teachers in the K-12 classroom nationwide, and for non-music institutions of higher education.
External funding is needed to continue faculty development in transforming their teaching methods for use as online materials. Berklee's vision is to create sites that feature dynamic resources that cannot be found in standard hard-copy texts. We are grateful for the assistance and vote of confidence from the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation.
Helping Berklee City Music
The Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation is a leader among foundations investing in young, disadvantaged urban residents. Berklee is pleased that the foundation has made a $10,000 gift to support urban middle-school students attending the Berklee City Music Saturday School. This successful education outreach program provides scholarship and mentoring opportunities to underserved or disadvantaged Boston youth who have musical talent but few avenues to pursue their dreams.
Each year Berklee awards up to eight continuing college scholarships to graduating Berklee City Music students who demonstrate exceptional promise. We are grateful to the Pappas Foundation for providing the opportunity for middle-school-age students to participate in this outstanding program.
Berklee friend Richard Soref of Newton has generously supported outstanding female faculty members at Berklee by creating the Richard Soref Fund for Excellence. This fund provides a cash gift to one outstanding female instructor per year teaching performance. The winner is chosen from nominations received from students, faculty, and others within the Berklee community. The second recipient of this award is Shannon LeClaire, a saxophone player who has inspired Berklee students for more than five years. She is in strong demand as a private instructor and frequently performs with her students in ensembles. LeClaire embodies the best characteristics of a music instructor and inspires her students to achieve the highest level of excellence.
Most recently, Mr. Soref established a fund to give an award to a student within the performance division who has demonstrated significant musical growth at Berklee. We are grateful to Mr. Soref for his gift which makes the recognition of both faculty and student leaders possible.
Al Natale, a native of Boston's North End, was recognized as one of Boston's finest trumpet players during the heyday of the big bands. He toured the country with several popular bands during the 1940s. He later formed his own group in Boston, providing early practical training for many Berklee musicians including Berklee Brass Department Chair Tom Plsek. Natale is a frequent guest at Berklee and is responsible for the scholarship support of more than 10 students through the endowed fund he established in 1995. The Albert A. Natale Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to continuing students in the Brass Department with a preference given for trumpet or trombone players. Al Natale is a popular speaker at Berklee's scholarship award ceremonies, enjoying the outstanding talent that defines the college. The entire Berklee community is grateful for musicians like Natale who create new opportunities to enable students to complete their education.